TO QUIT OR XOT TO QUIT
AFTER a whole year it was still there—the big * Quit India' sign
outside the railway station—a little faded, perhaps, because the
monsoons had washed away some of the chalk, but still easily
legible. I greeted it as an old friend; it had given me my first
shock, and all over India it had served as a constant reminder of
the mam argument, when I was in danger of wandering into
unprofitable by-paths. To quit or not to quit ? That was the
question. And it is one which we must attempt to answer before
we say good-bye.
It resolves itself into three parts.
1. Should we quit ? This is fundamentally a moral question.
2. Can we quit ? This is largely a physical question, involving
considerations of defence.
8. Will we quit ? This is, unfortunately, mostly a question
of expediency, and is dependent on so many incalculable
factors that the best answer we can give will only be an
Let us consider these three questions in their order, remem-
bering that to some extent the answers must inevitably overlap.
The first—c Should we quit ? *—is of special concern to the
British electorate, who may be .personified as Sir. and Mrs.
Smith. Most of the Smith family, when they think of India at
all, which is seldom, have a vague and generous feeling that we
should quit, and they will probably vote accordingly. The word
h feeling' is used rather than the word * opinion/ because an
opinion is—or should be—a point of view attained after a study
of the facts, and the vast majority of the Smiths have neither any
knowledge of the facts nor any inclination to study them. They
prefer to trust to their emotions. They are warm-hearted people :
they believe in 'freedom5 in the same way that they believe in
being kind to animals ; they can find India on the map and they
know that at any rate it looks like a single country, and they have
-a sneaking affection for Gandhi—"after all, he must be a plucky